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September 27, 2010     Cape Gazette
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September 27, 2010
 

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20 FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24- MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2010 NI~WS Cal:)e Gazette By Leah Hoenen leah@capegazette.com State officials are attempting a land grab with buffer regulations in the Pollution Control Strategy for the Inland Bays, Sussex County says. The county wants the pollution regulations invali- dated because it says environ- mental officials have over- stepped their authority. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) promulgated its Pollution Control Strategy for the Inland Bays in October 2008 after 10 years of debate over the plan. The 2008 incarnation in- cluded vegetated buffer zones of varying widths protecting water- ways from new subdivisions. Sussex County says that provi- sion usurps the cotmty's authori- ty over land use. Four groups, collectively called White Farm, Rehoboth pla Oak nners nearing ISlOn Subdivision to be voted on next month By Ryan Mavity ryanm@capegazette.coro Rehoboth Beach planners ex- pect to approve a plan for one of the city's largest remaining tracts of land. The Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission will make a deci- sion on the major subdivision at Oak Grove Motor Court at its Friday, Oct. 8 meeting or at a spe- cial meeting later in the month. Planning commission Chair- man Preston Littleton said, "The planning commission has agreed to the most recent submission on design, with a couple of excep- tions 'that are being worked out between the applicant's engineer and the city's engineer." He said this includes parking on Canal Street abutting the property, which sits between Canal and Sixth streets and Re- hoboth Avenue. Littleton said engineers are al- so working out the design of the proposed Jones Lane, a short, dead-end street that would serve the internal lots of the plaimed 15-lot subdivision. The planning commission spent most of its Friday, Sept. 17 meeting working out various le- gal aspects of the plan, particu- larly the homeowners' associa- tion agreement and restrictive convenants protecting natural features on the property. "The planning commission has no desire to get involved in what the applicant wants to do relative to the homeowner's association, other than, we need to make clear who is responsible for what in the future," Littleton. Ordinarily, the planning com- mission would not be involved in homeowner-association docu- ments. But in order to have ]ones Lane, the Lovetts had to prove the short, dead-end street would preserve trees. In addition, Little- ton said, the homeowner-associ- ation agreements also spell out who maintains the parking areas along Jones Lane and who will have responsibility for the park- ing areas in the future. The commission and the own- ers, the Lovett family, have al- ready agreed to establish a con- servation easement protecting 10 trees, parking on both sides of the proposed Jones Lane and a utility easement on Jones Lane. The Oak Grove subdivision has been in the works for more than two years, during which the Lovetts asked to table the appli- cation while the city commis- sioners passed an ordinance al- lowing for short, dead-end streets like the proposed Jones Lane. Oak Grove was also re- zoned from commercial to resi- dential. The revised plans were submitted to planners in March. "The planning commission had two options: one was, to dis- approve it when it was submit- ted, let these people get all these things out and come back. We chose to let them table it," Little- ton said. Littleton said some rear lot lines that required a variance from the board of adjustment caused further delays. "It seems like it has been out there for a really long time; it re- ally actuallyhasn't. And that's a misnomer, it's easy to say, 'This thing has been out there for two years.' It's been tabled at the ap- plicant's request," he said. Littleton said if all the legal is- sues were worked out by the commission's Oct. 8 meeting, it would vote on the matter then. If not, the commission would schedule a special meeting for Friday, Oct. 22, devoted solely to the completion of Oak Grove. "We're nearly at the goalposts, the last several yards. We need the loose ends tied up before we can take definitive action on it," he said. also filed suits against DNREC over the pollution-control strate- gy. Delaware Superior Court combined that case with Sussex County's complaint. In a brief filed Wednesday, Sept. 15, the county asks Delaware Superior Court Judge T. Henley Graves to fred DNREC exceeded its authority with the pollution regulations. The brief, by attorney David Rutt of Moore & Rutt, P.A., ar- gues DNREC could claim its reg- ulations apply if there were no applicable buffer zones in Sussex County. County regulations establish a 50-foot buffer zone, which the department attemp;s to usurp with a 100-foot buffer that must be planted with specific vegeta- tion; the brief says. Scientists say vegetated buffer areas help remove nutrient pol- lution and improve water quality. "Sussex County Council, not DNREC, has the power to regu- late land use, including the estab- lishment and criteria for buffer zones in Sussex County," the brief states. The brief also cites House Joint Resolutions 24 and 71, which directed DNREC to study its statutory authority to require buffers and how homeowners would be affected by it. The brief says the buffer re- quirement in the pollution con- trol regulations "is in contraven- tion of the exclusive authority to regulate land use in Sussex County," based on the 1897 Delaware Constitution. The brief also contends DNREC has no statutory authority to enact land use laws or regulate land use. The department's opening statement is due to Superior Court by mid-October, said DNREC spokesman Michael Globetti. THE DEWEY PEOPLE & BUSINESSES WHO KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON ARE CASTING THE ONLY FULL-TIME RESIDENT CANDIDATE, KELLY WILL REDUCE LEGAL FEES SUPPORT OUR LIFEGUARDS & POLICE PROTECT US FROM A PROPERTY TAX STRONGLY SUPPORT OUR 35-FOOT HEIGHT LIMIT Get Creative Solutions to Town Issues - From Kelly- 2010 Cape Hen/open School District Teacher of the Year